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Increasing customer base is a priority for any company but it is also important to focus on retaining existing or loyal customers. Studies have shown returning customers spend more than new customers and for the companies, retaining existing shoppers is cheaper than getting new ones.
However, retaining the customers is quite challenging for any company- these days. The customers have become way more selective than the past- since they have lots of choices- online and otherwise. Besides, they have become better informed on products and services- thanks to evolution of the internet and associated technologies. So, brands need to develop effective customer retention strategies and optimize these periodically. Using specialized ticketing software can be useful for this.
Why focus on customer retention strategies?
Retaining existing customers of your brand is important for sustenance and growth of the company.
- The existing customers have already purchased products from your company. So, motivating them to buy more products will not be much hard. They already have some amount of trust in your venture.
- Convincing the existing buyers to buy more products from your venture will not be expensive. They can also be coaxed to share favorable reviews and feedback on the brand. This way, they can be used as weapons for indirect promotions.
- You may not need to use aggressive pricing to woo the existing customers- as opposed to the new ones. Existing customers already like your products and they will look forward to quality and convenience rather than heavy discounts. From the brand perspective, it means enhanced revenue.
- It is easier to deploy cross selling and up selling tactics on existing customers than prospective ones.
Top customer retention strategies you can utilize
Listed below are some of the popular, tried and tested strategies that you can use to boost customer retention for your company:
Use the element of unexpected surprise
To retain the existing customers just keeping them satisfied with service is not enough anymore. You should try to exceed their expectations and make them delighted. This can be done by using so many methods. Giving loyal customers personalized gifts on birthdays is effective but you can walk an extra mile. You may offer them small gifts without occasions too- for example. Who does not like to begin his/her day by getting a surprise cash back or gift voucher in the mailbox? Another good example would be gifting the customers something which is relevant to the last order made by him/her. If the customer bought a shoe recently, sending him a nice pair of socks as surprise gift will hit the bull’s eye!
Create loyalty/exclusive scheme for loyal customers
Another way to retain the existing customers is by starting a special loyalty scheme for them. This can be in form of additional discount during promotions. Amazon has created prime for this purpose- as it is. Other options to explore in this regard include free delivery, extended free warranty on products, etc. These schemes will include features that only loyal customers of the company are entitled to get. These moves are effective in customer retention. The loyal customers should be made to feel they are getting privileges which are exclusive in nature.
Be honest with the customers
It is very important that your brand remains clear to all customers and for the loyal ones
This aspect can’t be stressed enough. While responding to queries made by the customers- ensure the support agents use only truth. No ambiguity or false claims are entertained by the customers and that can have backlash on reputation. Whether it is about product availability, delivery or refund policy- only facts should be conveyed to the customers.
Use social media with incentive policy- A lot of your customers use social media services and same is true of the loyal customers. So, you should utilize the social media channels to motivate the customers to promote the services and products. You can use schemes involving such social media sites. For example, you may offer a scheme that fetches the customer discounts on next order when they share a purchase on sites like Instagram and Facebook. This serves two purposes simultaneously. The customers get an incentive and your company gets indirect promotion. The latter can also add to revenue.
Offer convenient features to loyal customers
It is not always necessary to use lower priced products or limited period deals to retain the existing buyers. It is also effective if you offer them facilities that prove to be useful. The customers should find it easy to locate and buy products- for example. Let them use app, social media sites or other online platforms to fulfill their needs. It would also be useful if the loyal customers are offered additional ways to pay online. These may include digital wallets or UPIs.
Highlight the USP of your services/products
Your loyal customers already like your products but you have to think of the competitor offerings too. To ensure the rivals cannot snatch away your existing customers by promotions or lower priced offerings- it is important that you make the customers understand USP of your products. One example is the way Samsung is using its ingenious ads to highlight why premium Smartphone buyers should opt for its flagship Galaxy S series over the iPhones. It is about focusing on why the products will fulfill important customer needs rather than offering them lower price tag alone.
Thank your customers
It is also necessary that you appreciate the customers who take the time to complete surveys or give feedback on the services and products. It is a fact that not all customers extract time to respond to the emails and post chat surveys. Those who do should be given something to show the company has taken note of their efforts. Their feedback help you gather data on customers liking and trends. The appreciation can be shown by offering those customers limited period deals and special gifts. Thanking the customers in such ways boost customer retention.
Use a CRM/helpdesk tool
Using the right helpdesk and CRM application can also be useful for retaining loyal customers. These tools can be used in various ways to gather data from the customers. You can create online polls, surveys and quizzes using these tools. These data can help the company understand things that the customers want. They can also figure out areas of service that need improvement etc. So, usage of these tools can be helpful in retaining the customers.
Make the customers feel you care about them
The loyal customers should be made to feel the brand cares about their needs and likings. Wishing them on events like birthdays, anniversaries, New Year with gifts and making using their purchase history to make recommendations and resolve disputes are also effective in this regard.
Summing it all up
There is no single formula to improve rate of customer retention for the businesses. However, using a few tried and tested methods can work well in this regard. Some of these measures include usage of limited period discounts, offering personalized gifts to loyal customers etc. Offering special schemes or memberships aimed at the customers and deploying suitable helpdesk tool also work well.